CEPI partners with consortium of Bharat Biotech, University of Sydney and ExcellGene to develop ‘variant-proof’ COVID-19 vaccine
CEPI will fund the researchers to conduct activities including immunogen design, pre-clinical studies, manufacturing process development and a phase-I clinical trial
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) yesterday announced the latest award under its $200 million programme to advance the development of vaccines that provide broad protection against SARS-Cov-2 variants and other beta corona viruses. CEPI will provide funding of up to $19.3 million to support the development of a ‘variant-proof’ SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate to an international multidisciplinary consortium comprising Bharat Biotech, India; the University of Sydney, Australia; and ExcellGene SA, Switzerland.
CEPI’s funding will support the consortium as it seeks to establish pre-clinical and clinical proof of concept for an adjuvanted subunit vaccine designed to provide broad protection against all known SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, as well as future variants of the virus which have not yet emerged. CEPI will fund the researchers to conduct activities including immunogen design, pre-clinical studies, manufacturing process development and a phase-I clinical trial.
In this new vaccine design, modified trimeric spike immunogens will be produced in a robust and scalable process with high purity and yield at low cost, based on a biomanufacturing approach that has provided significant quantities of protein therapeutics to the world. This strategy could also be used to enable rapid development of broadly protective vaccines against other beta corona viruses, as well as vaccines against Disease X—unknown pathogens with pandemic potential that emerge in the future.
CEPI is committed to the principle of equitable access to the vaccines it funds. Under the terms of the funding agreement, the consortium partners have committed to achieve equitable access to the outputs of this project, in line with CEPI’s Equitable Access Policy.
Speaking in this regard, Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO, CEPI, said, “As repeated waves of COVID-19 infection remind us, we will be living alongside the virus for many years to come. The threat of a new variant emerging that might evade the protection of our current vaccines is real. So, investing in R&D for variant-proof SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is a global health security imperative. Our partnership with Bharat Biotech, University of Sydney and ExcellGene will advance the development of a v